Vineyard USA, an association of more than 2,400 churches worldwide rooted in the Evangelical and Pentecostal traditions (“third wave”), is excited to have been awarded a five-year grant to support Vineyard’s Well-being of Pastors Initiative. This endeavor will invite at least 90 pastors over 5 years into three affinity-based peer cohorts. Each of three cohorts launches with 30-36 pastors completing a wellness survey and attending an initial retreat to get to know other cohort members. The following month and over the next two years, these affinity-group pastors will meet as a peer group in online video conferences with their affinity mentor, and he or she will meet individually with a specialized support team consisting of their mentor, a coach, and a spiritual director of their choice from a pool of top-rated professionals within the Vineyard. The individual and group meetings will occur 17 of the 23 months during the two year period. At the conclusion of each cohort’s two years together, the cohort will gather in person again and a second wellness survey will gauge the professional and personal growth of the pastors. Survey results will be used to fine-tune the program. An additional 30 pastors will take the wellness survey at the beginning and end to function as a control group for measurement accuracy. To sustain this effort, Vineyard USA will incorporate the program into its operating budget and seek financial support from individuals and congregations who are committed to pastor well-being.
Resilient Leaders Project at The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology strengthens the three streams of resilience — people, practices, and purpose — in the lives of Christian leaders. Over one year, cohorts of 8-16 church workers gather for four multi-day learning modules and monthly peer groups. Resilient Leaders Project provides clergy with opportunities to build relationships; practice spiritual, physical, and emotional fitness; and discern their vocational next steps to build generative communities. Leaders leave the program with deeper self- and other-understanding, expanded capacity to manage stress and change, and tools to create redemptive narratives from their personal and congregational stories. The project is committed to learning about the practice of pastoral resilience and its impact on congregations and communities. To sustain this work, The School’s advancement team will work with a development consultant to cultivate major donors interested in supporting this project.
The Southern New England Conference seeks a five-year grant for the Together We Thrive: Nurturing Pastoral Leadership program. Working in partnership with the Connecticut and Rhode Island UCC conferences, the Western Diocese of the Episcopal Church in Massachusetts and the New England Synod ELCA, Lutheran, the program will offer a variety of opportunities for pastors to build relationships with peers and strengthen their leadership practices, including: 1) facilitated clergy cohorts to hone the practices of ministry; 2) clergy affinity groups to provide opportunities for intentional relationship building between clergy for mutual support and accountability; and 3) clergy coach training opportunities for seasoned clergy to work with new pastors. An annual colloquy will draw all the clergy groups together to reflect on challenges of pastoral ministry. The development specialist within the conference will oversee the fundraising to solicit donations from individuals, partner churches as well as additional grant sources to sustain this program.
Orthodox Church in America (OCA), a denomination of more than 700 Eastern Orthodox churches across North America, seeks a five-year grant for partial support for its Thriving in Ministry Initiative 2018 program, an effort to strengthen the leadership practices of OCA clergy and equip them to be joyful, creative and thriving pastoral leaders for the parish communities they serve. Based on a successful pilot program started in the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania in 2015, OCA will establish facilitated clergy peer learning groups throughout the United States. Trained facilitators will guide priests through regular discussions around self-care, spiritual growth, vocational joy and leadership. Clergy spouses will meet with trained facilitators as well. To sustain this program, OCA will charge participants a fee and will ask each diocese to support their participating priests.
Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation (OPSF) requests a three-year grant for its Pastoral Leadership Revitalization Program, an effort to recharge the spiritual energy of pastors with the overall goal of revitalizing congregations. The program is an integrated mentoring and spiritual regeneration initiative for ordained clergy and lay pastors in the Central Nebraska, Missouri Union, and Missouri River Valley presbyteries and will involve both Presbyterian Church (USA) and a diverse ecumenical mix of clergy who serve as local pastors and lay pastors in small rural and urban congregations. The pastors will have opportunities to receive mentoring and coaching from experienced clergy, participate in pastor peer-to-peer networks, engage in retreats and spiritual rejuvenation activities and benefit from targeted actions to support their families. To sustain this work, OPSF will solicit funds from new donors and seek foundation grants.
New York Theological Seminary (NYTS) seeks a five-year grant for its Mentoring for Thriving in Ministry in the City project. This three-pronged project seeks to develop effective mentoring for pastors serving in urban ministries, especially NYTS graduates as well as other pastors in the New York City metropolitan region. The project will include a research component to examine and understand the effective mentoring practices for pastors in diverse urban ministry contexts. NYTS also will introduce mentoring for all ministerial candidates in its degree programs, many of whom already serve congregations, and increase resources for mentoring for graduates and other pastors in the region. To sustain this project, NYTS will fully integrate mentoring into degree programs for pastoral ministry, create a permanent office that provides resources for mentoring to pastors, and share the findings of its research through academic publications and other appropriate media.